1 pound dried split peas, rinsed and picked over
1 ham hock, ham bone, or 1 pound diced ham
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 bay leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: thyme, parsley, or other herbs for flavor
Prepare the ingredients: Rinse the split peas under cold water and pick out any debris. Chop the onion, carrots, and celery. Mince the garlic.
Sauté aromatic vegetables: In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat some olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, carrots, celery, and garlic. Sauté until softened, about 5-7 minutes.
Add split peas and broth: Add the rinsed split peas to the pot, along with the ham hock, ham bone, or diced ham. Pour in the chicken or vegetable broth. Add bay leaves and any other herbs you’re using.
Simmer the soup: Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Let it simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the split peas are tender and the soup has thickened, about 1 to 1.5 hours. If using a ham hock or bone, remove it from the soup once the meat is falling off the bone; shred the meat and return it to the pot.
Season to taste: Taste the soup and season with salt and pepper as needed. Adjust any other seasonings to your liking.
Serve: Remove the bay leaves before serving. Ladle the soup into bowls and enjoy hot. Optionally, you can garnish with chopped fresh parsley or a drizzle of olive oil.
You can customize the soup by adding other vegetables like potatoes or leeks.
For a vegetarian version, omit the ham and use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.
Split pea soup tends to thicken as it sits, so you may need to add more broth or water when reheating leftovers.